PH torches Hong Kong to open Pool A campaign

Mark Escarlote, ABS-CBN Sports

Posted at Aug 09 2017 08:05 PM | Updated as of Aug 09 2017 08:57 PM

Jaja Santiago scored 13 points as the Philippines swept Hong Kong to open its campaign in Pool A on a high note. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports

BINAN CITY, Laguna –- (UPDATED) The Philippine women’s national team got off to a hot start with a dominating, 25-21, 25-16, 25-17, win over Hong Kong Wednesday in Pool A of the 19th SMM Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship Wednesday at the Alonte Sports Arena here.

Alyssa Vadez was sharp as always but it was the Nationals' great team effort and balanced scoring that pulled the host squad through in front of the huge crowd.

The win gave the Philippines a strong fighting chance to make it to the quarterfinals and a ticket to the 2018 AVC Asian Women’s Volleyball Cup.

"That's the goal naman; three-set win, ang ganda ng resulta," said Philippine head coach Francis Vicente, whose squad trained in Japan for 17 days as preparation. "Nagkaroon ng bunga 'yung pagpunta namin sa Japan, although we need to practice more on some departments ng paglalaro. Pero this is a good thing. I'm very proud na lumabas 'yung pag-eensayo namin." 

Valdez finished led the Philippines with 14 points, all but one coming of kills. Jaja Santiago had 13 markers from 11 attacks and a pair of kill blocks, while Ces Molina and Kim Fajardo got seven points each for the Philippines.

Fajardo tallied 26 excellent sets in the Philippines's 50 attack points. 

A victory by the Filipinas against Kazakhstan on Friday or another loss by Hong Kong against the Kazakhs on Thursday will give the Nationals a spot in the quarterfinals and surpass its 12th place finish in the 2015 edition in Tianjin, China. 

The Philippines's best finish in the event is at fifth place back in 1983 in Fukuoka, Japan. 

"Nangyari di ba (na makuha ang panalo)? Susunod na isa pang goal, hopefully, 'yung resulta between Hong Kong and Kazakhstan manalo ang Kazakhstan para sure nang pasok sa quarterfinals," Vicente said.

The match served as a rematch of the two squads' classification round showdown two years ago. The Nationals, then bannered by Myla Pablo, defeated Hong Kong in a come-from-behind fashion, 21-25, 18-25 25-20, 25-16, 15-11, in the classification round for ninth to 14th place.

Wing Lam Chim scored seven while Man Lee Cheung and and Hoi Lun Helen Ip had six and five, respectively, for Hong Kong. 

This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.